COVID-19 Throws a Wrench in the Future Plans of International Students

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Coronavirus outbreak forced the Finnish education system to shut down all schools, colleges, and universities. In this situation, international students in Finland have been having a complicated time: They have gone through uncertainties about accommodation, whether they would be able to return to their home countries and start classes again someday.

When universities closed abruptly two months ago due to the COVID-19 outbreak, many international students faced the dilemma of whether to stay in or leave Finland. It led to a number of foreign students deciding to return to their parents. They are now forced to cope with the travel ban and limitations of prevailing in the air transport industry. In addition, the coronavirus crisis also negatively impacted the process of admission into Finnish universities.

The Daily Finland talked to some international student specialists at different universities in the country to learn their current concerns about international students as well as the solutions they are considering.

Esko Koponen, a specialist of the strategic services for teaching at the University of Helsinki, said, “Although the pandemic has not had any effect on the decision-making process itself, the operational environment of the university and its students has changed dramatically. Under the circumstances, alternative options will be defined by the university during the summer for the coming academic year 2020-2021. It will give the aspiring students the opportunity to defer their admission by one semester or even one year based on their wishes. The university will also do its utmost to prepare the situation for distance education in the autumn and let the students attend classes later in Helsinki.”

“Most of our international students have stayed in Finland and follow their schedule despite the Covid-19 locked down. However, we realized only a few students went to their home countries, and it means they might have some difficulties to return Finland or extend their resident permit,” Mari Putaansuu Head of International Relations at Lapland University of Applied Science (Lapin AMK) told Daily Finland.

She said the authority will to support international students to proceed with their studies according to the planned schedule.

“Offering online courses and distance education are the current options for reducing stress and facilitating the process of study for the current foreign students and incoming students as well,” Putaansuu added.

It seems that the situation of international students at the University of Turku is the same since Johanna Kärki International Education Specialist declared most of the international students have decided to stay in Finland, therefore not a significant number are struggling with the difficulties of returning Finland. Besides we consider remote education for students who are not able to attend classes for any reason included travel ban or immigration challenges.

Jenni Sjöman, an advisor of applicants at the Student Service of the University of Lapland, emphasised that the process of international students’ acceptance has not changed this year.

She said, “We hope distance learning helps our international students to start and follow their programme, regardless of their geographical location. Since the University of Lapland cannot offer financial support to all international students, we hope distance education would assist them in not discontinuing with their education.”

International specialists at Finnish universities expressed the hope that the students who have left Finland because of the pandemic would return to the country in time. In case, they cannot enter the country, the universities will try to support them by offering online courses and, in special cases, negotiating about the graduation time.

Accordingly, it can be said that universities cannot interfere with migration issues and support international students to apply for the first residence permit or extend the card, they said, adding that it is a matter that students must cope with individually; they should be patient enough to see what the future brings to them.

Source: www.dailyfinland.fi

14 Comments
  1. Emma Davis says

    As a former international student myself, I can understand the struggles these students are facing. It’s a challenging time for them, with uncertainties about their future plans and academic pursuits. I hope the universities can come up with effective solutions to support these students during this difficult period.

  2. Eva Wilson says

    As an international student myself, it’s been challenging trying to navigate these uncertain times. I feel like the situation keeps changing every day, and it’s been stressful not knowing what the future holds. I hope universities can provide more support for students like me who are far away from home.

  3. Erika Johnson says

    I believe that international students are facing immense challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is heartbreaking to see how their plans have been disrupted and uncertainties have taken over their lives. I hope that universities can provide the necessary support and solutions to ease their struggles during this difficult time.

  4. Eva Johnson says

    As an international student myself, I can relate to the challenges discussed in this article. It’s truly unfortunate how the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our academic journeys and created so much uncertainty. I hope universities can come up with viable solutions to support us during these difficult times.

  5. LauraSmith23 says

    As an international student myself, I can relate to the struggles mentioned in this article. It’s a challenging time for us all, but I believe that with support from universities and governments, we can navigate through this crisis together.

  6. AnnaSmith_1987 says

    Esko Koponen, a specialist of the strategic services for teaching at the University of Helsinki, mentioned in the article that the pandemic has not had any effect on the decision-making process itself, but the operational environment of the university and its students has changed dramatically. Under the circumstances, alternative options will be defined by the university during the summer for the upcoming academic year.

  7. Anna Thompson says

    As an international student myself, I can relate to the struggles mentioned in this article. The uncertainty surrounding the current situation is overwhelming. I hope universities can come up with effective solutions to support students during these challenging times.

  8. JennaSmith_89 says

    Do international students have any support systems in place to help them navigate these new challenges brought on by the COVID-19 outbreak?

    1. EvaRivers_92 says

      Yes, international students in Finland are facing challenges due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The universities are making efforts to support them during these uncertain times. Solutions are being considered to address the evolving situation and provide the necessary assistance for international students to navigate through this difficult period.

  9. Elsa Thompson says

    As an international student myself, the pandemic has completely disrupted my plans for studying abroad. It’s a challenging time deciding whether to stay or go back home, especially with all the travel restrictions in place. The uncertainty is overwhelming, and I hope universities can come up with appropriate solutions soon.

  10. EmilySmith92 says

    Do you think the uncertainties faced by international students will have a long-term impact on their education plans in Finland?

  11. AnneSmith says

    How are universities in Finland helping international students cope with the challenges brought by the COVID-19 outbreak?

  12. EmilyJohnson says

    Does anyone know if the international students in Finland are still able to continue their studies online while facing these challenges?

  13. LauraJohnson says

    Will the international students have to undergo quarantine upon returning to Finland before starting their classes?

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